With another charge, I was finally inside. Usually my priority at these events is to perform an instant celebrity-scan of the room — actually four rooms, as Morton’s is virtually demolished each year to make way for the huge party space, designed by Basil Walter Architects of New York, and lit by Patrick Woodroffe (who also works for Peter Gabriel and the Rolling Stones). But Sunday evening was different: I’d just finished a live blog of the Oscars, and was starving. So instead I focused my energy on hunting down a plate of mini-sirloin burgers on mini-blinis. I ate one. It was stupidly good. I wouldn’t have been at all surprised to learn that Graydon Carter — lampooned by Toby Young in his New York memoir How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, which also riffs on the impenetrability of the Vanity Fair party guestlist — had bred his own brand of mini-cows just to make those mini-burgers. This is a man who knows how to entertain: on low coffee tables throughout Morton’s, piles of ultra-thin black and gold cigarettes had been laid next to big square boxes of Vanity Fair branded matches. Evil, but brilliant.
I moved on, spotting Victoria Beckham, looking extremely fragile and overwhelmed in a corner — and, alas, too crowded-in to approach. Standing beside me, meanwhile, was Jerry Seinfeld, who was caught yawning during the Oscars ceremony when Al Gore was on the stage. Seinfeld collects Porsches — no wonder he switches off during lectures about global warming. Next to him was CNN’s ubiquitous Anderson Cooper, who was in turn barging his way through a melee of Alist screenwriters. The Vanity Fair party had actually started at 5pm, with a dinner and viewing party for those too important to suffer through four hours in the Kodak Theatre. Madonna and Guy Ritchie were there, as was Oprah Winfrey and Mary J. Blige (they sat next to each other). Even Daniel Craig came down for the meal of steak and chips after handing out the Oscar for Best Art Direction. Each table setting came with a free custom-made Zippo lighter engraved with “VF 2.25.07” and a quotation from Humphrey Bogart, from the 1961 Academy Awards: “The only way to find the best actor would be to let everybody play Hamlet and let the best man win.” Bogart was clearly a man ahead of his time: this would have turned the Oscars into American Idol.
Must be nice to be rich and famous. You can still have a bloody cigarette inside.